I am thinking of purchasing an MR2 MK1 (square type) from 1988.
Does an old car as this mean it's only got one year left to live?
I don't see many cars on the road that are 15+ year old.
I'm no expert and like the look of the car but it's age worries me a bit.
Are things likely to go wrong all the time with an old veichle?
In actual fact, older cars are easier to repair, as they don't rely on new
technology such as an Electornic Management Computer. Also, if you do
require parts, then there should be several breakers yards in each town. You
should be able to find a 15+ year old car in good condition in the local
paper, or in autotrader.
1988 Mini Mayfair
1975 Triumph 1500TC
1974 Triumph 1500TC
1968 Triumph 1300
The Mini is a bit untidy, and needs a good service, but runs fine, starts
first time, brakes work, etc, just suffering from the usual rust and slight
rough running due to worn out dizzy cap
The 75 TC needs some welding, suspension bushes, and a crank regrind.
Nothing that can't be fixed and see the car on the road for a few years
before it needs doing again.
The 74 TC has a whine from the box and diff, and is currently waiting for
most of it to be welded up. Once new panels are on and the drivetrain is
sorted, I'd expect to see some years before it needs anything more than
The 68 1300 needs one brake disc and some general odds and sods.
All of these are very old designs, and for the most part the biggest
problems are down to BL steel quality and Triumph engines - So I can't see
why a 15 year old Toyota would be as bad, let alone worse. All cars wear,
and all parts that wear can be replaced, it all depends if you're willing to
take on the work of a bush or ball joint here and there...
Well, as with all things, there's an up side and a down side. There are
plenty of morris1000s, anglias etc around still. The down side is that it
may be on it's last legs, or at least need lots of work for an MOT. Also
some parts may nowadays be difficult to get hold of, as if they were made of
The up side is things like - it's more likely that you can fix it without a
truckload of computer equipment. Your mates will love to give you a hand
with it. Parts may well be obtainable (and cheap) at car boots/ autojumbles.
The MOT is simpler to pass. No emissions test, or at least a minimal one.
There will almost certainly be an owners club to help you, not to mention
I say go for it as long as you don't mind getting your hands dirty. Often.
If you fancy an older car then go for it. I run and F reg AX 1989 (on LPG).
The way I look at it is if the car has done 70k miles it should be
in just as good condition as a newer car that has done 70k miles.
I know rust will show up and I know rubber seals and things will
start to show their age but I haven't really had any problems.
My car is spotless no signs of rust a credit to citroen.
There are good new cars as well as bad new cars just
the same with old cars.
Old cars have the advantage in that they cost next to nothing.
If it gets scratched or has an accident so what just chuck it and get
Parts for older cars are usually dirt cheap also. However getting some
components if one fails could be a problem. But for the price of an old
car have two and have one as a backup. :-) I do. My backup
is a K reg Proton.
Some makes are better than others a Fiesta for example probably wouldn't
see 15years as rust is a problem.
My car cost £34000 17 years ago. (Bmw 730i)
It cost me £900 ... with every single dealer stamp and receipts
There are currently 3 the same in a scrapyard near to me.
Also the parts from the main delaer are quite resonable, when i compare
the cost of a distributer cap for the beemer, with one for the citroen ax,
headlight for one or the other.
I am qualified in electronics ..... good with electricery gone wrong on
I have 9 year experience thrashing/breaking/modifying bmws.
Therefore, i have no problem running an older car.
On the other hand, if you are not "mechanically aware" and cannot
detect when something is wrong ... stick to the newer cars.
Stuff like the engine temperature taking to long a time to warm
up (faulty thermosat) .... you end up with excessive fuel consumption
and eventual bore wear.
How about when you get out the car and smell "antifreeze".
Most people wouldn't realise ... only to have the engine boil up the
next day. (A proper mechanic would be under the bonnet pronto).
Or a small trace of oil on the radiator cap ... whip that head off now,
run it until the bores are water lubricated.
Old cars are for spanner men i'm afraid.
I learnt a lot from owning old cars, not that it does me a lot of good these
days. My best value car was a three year old (1967)Anglia estate, bought
for £375 and sold for £100 fourteen years later. Never went to a garage for
service and never had a breakdown even though I took it round the clock and
a lot more. My most serious problem was a burnt out exhaust valve - sorted
in a couple of hours for a cost of about 3 quid. Then again, I do prefer my
The link that's just your email address? Or did you mean email to ask more?
That's a perfect comparison of one car that has a body that'll pretty much
last forever and a crap one that's destined for a life of oxidisation!
Good work. The original mark one MR2 is a favourite of mine. Be sure to
follow some Google links for the owners forums, so on and so forth.
It might. But then I know of plenty of significantly newer cars that sound
like they've a couple more cold starts before they die...
I guess you're in the wrong part of the world... :)
They can... but you won't know. It's entirely possible that a newer car
will also be a bunch of problems waiting to happen.
What tends to kill cars* in the UK is corrosion. It becomes too expensive
to fix, whereas a new engine or gearbox, well that's something else. In
some markets - such as the dry parts California - it's not unknown for
father to have passed his 1950s pickup truck to the son, and it's still in
daily use. Okay so it may be on the second engine and third transmission,
but the body is still in good enough shape.
*there will always be many exceptions to this rule, heh!
Try it. I run 1 15 year-old Merc 300TE. It's got cruise control, climate,
Cost me £2,600 two years ago - probably still worth 2K. What other car can
do 0-60 in under 8 seconds, over 140 MPH, seats 7 comfortably, carry 2
wardrobes (1 in and 1 on top) and also haul out tree trunks? Yes - it may
serve as a posh car, but it's also got to work as a tractor.
An early MR2 is a bit of a pain to work on and does rust, but is otherwise
fine. There was an article in Practical Classics a few issues ago about how
to run and maintain one. Well worth getting hold of as it covers the
purchasing in detail.
I have a 17 year old Saab 9000, it has no less than 3 ECU's one for the ABS,
EFI and ignition system.
Rust is the enemy with older MR2's, but mechanically they're pretty decent.
Last Toyota I had did nearly 300K miles.
Talking of comparing cars that generally rust lots with cars that generally
don't rust at all, I sold my mate's old Scirocco for him on ebay a few weeks
back (he bought it for the wheels, plus it served as a useful stop gap when
the wheel bearing was getting done on his other Scirocco) and the bloke that
bought it was replacing a Capri with it, and was well chuffed with a car
with virtually no rust at all, having owned about 50+ Fords!
Talking of which, FWIW, I'll just quickly plug his Scirocco that he's still
got that he's now getting rid of as he went and bought himself a Vitara of
all things!! It's got about 15 minutes left, with no reserve: